yes I found this very interesting.
you made a very good point there...
" The hallmarks of both categories, the starship Enterprise on the one hand and the X-Wing on the other, have become so ingrained in the collective unconscience that they have inspired countless revisions, adaptations, and technological retrofits, so much so that the initial forms and principles are often lost, or rendered meaningless and irrelevant ."
I think there are plently of examples where the imagination is not excerised enough in design. Not just the artist, but the viewer too. In games and films alike it's getting to a dangerous level that because people are so used to seeing star wars inspired stuff that I'm concerned if they would accept anything else? the first port of call for a space ship appears to be something out of star wars/trek, and goes no further.
So deeply rooted into the populous subconcious star wars is, that anything 'new' in terms of design could be hated or rejected simply because people are so comfortable with star wars/star trek/blade runner/aliens stuff. Syd Mead has done a fantastic job - but also remember these designs (brilliant though they are) are now (other than the latest SW prequels) 15 or more years old. I liken it to car design - look at at all the concepts there. I think it would be a sorry state if car designers had stopped designing, in 1985, or kept churing over the same thing diluted. They are always competing and pushing design coming up with wonderful stuff.
I'm talking worse case scenario here, but I've been in art situation many a times where the lead artist or designer want something 'star warsy'. I'll rather take an original route. There's absolutely nothing wrong with the design of the sources you mention, nothing at all - in fact I'm influenced just as much by them, too and have to stop myself from drawing in that driection also, but why should concept design be limited in such a way?
I've always thought that if you want to 'be like' your favourite, musician/band/artist - whatever - you don't copy them - you find out their design processes/influences - go to the source. of course the best thing is to take it all on board and then try to push the envelope in your own orginal direction. I frequently practice and exercise my imagination by saying to myself 'ok - what has been done already? - ok - I wont do that.' and scrap anything that looks like it's a wannabe star wars concept.
As you suggest there's information and influence all around us - other objects used everyday like lamps, kettles, etc etc could be used as design elements for craft - or what ever that's being designed (which is the sort of design process they used for star wars anyway) - these objects people can relate to in their subconscious, but it's can still be 'new' in craft design terms.
unless people actively exercise the imagination, then we're just going to keep having diluted star wars stuff - stuff with panels on the hull included
Admittedly it is a difficult thing. your intended audience needs to relate to your concept. You make a great example at your thread. something people will be familiar with.
Of course you venture out to other concept aspects - all of which make perfect sense to me. People have to be aware , and I think the theory is more important than some may realise. so keep up the good work!